“American Idol” winner and Latter-day Saint Iam Tongi is learning to share about his faith.
In a post on the Church’s social media accounts on June 11, the 18-year-old from Kahuku, Hawaii, wrote about being asked questions about his membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by a friend.
“As I answered his questions, he would ask something else, and it gave me the chance to speak up and share from a sincere place,” Tongi shared. “If I didn’t know the answer, I would tell him, ‘I don’t know that yet.’ And he was fine hearing that because he knew I was trying.”
Tongi credited his mother with giving him the courage to share his beliefs. “She has always pushed me to share what I believe. My faith in God and Jesus Christ is a part of my story. Their story is my story.”
Tongi won Season 21 of the American singing-competition television series in May. In a Church News article on May 27, Tongi spoke of how his family and faith kept him grounded throughout his rising fame.
In his audition for the show — which accrued 17 million views in three months — Tongi performed the song “Monsters” by James Blunt and dedicated the song to his father, Rodney Tongi, who died in December 2021.
In the June 11 social media post, Iam Tongi shared more details about his parents’ influence in his life, including his father. Describing his father as both tough and hardworking and “so faithful to God,” Tongi wrote how Rodney Tongi had two strokes and a heart attack. The next year his kidneys began to fail, and he passed away shortly after.
As Iam Tongi began to pursue music more seriously, he didn’t want to to talk about his dad, he wrote. “As I was asked how I got into music, I realized I had to talk about my dad because he is a huge part of my story. His story is my story, and I didn’t need to ‘hide it.’”
Tongi said he chooses to follow Christ because of all that he has experienced. “There is no way I can deny that my Savior is there for me, because He is. That’s the main reason why I started sharing my faith; because what I have seen and heard, there is no way that I can deny. My faith in Jesus Christ is a part of my story. His story is my story.”
As of June 15, Tongi’s post had roughly 1,500 comments.